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Hollywood’s Call Girl

Hollywood’s Call Girl
By
John William Tuohy




Judith Campbell Exner: Mob mistress. Born Judith Katherine Inmoor January 11, 1934. Died September 25, 1999. Campbell was born to an upper middle class family in New York and settled in California while in her childhood.  In 1952, she married actor Bill Campbell but divorced him in 1959. (The couple had been separated since 1955) Campbell claimed to have been working as an actress when Frank Sinatra introduced her to US Senator and Presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy on February 7, 1960 in Palm Springs California. She denied allegations and rumors from local law enforcement that prior to the Kennedy meeting she was working as a professional escort. 
 According to her statements before the 1975 U.S. Senate intelligence committee, Campbell said she had an 18-month affair with Kennedy before and after he entered the White House, and that she later had an affair with Sam Giancana while Giancana was boss of the Chicago Outfit. She also claimed to have been involved with Johnny Roselli, Giancana’s man on the West Coast.  In 1959 Campbell met singer Frank Sinatra, and they engaged in a brief affair.
A year later, on February 7, 1960, Sinatra introduced Campbell to Kennedy and shortly before that, to Sam Giancana. She swore under oath that there was no connection between Kennedy and Giancana, that her relationship with Kennedy was personal and not business and that she had no knowledge of any relationship between Giancana and Kennedy.  Later, in her December 1975 press conference and again in her autobiography, she made the same denials and repeatedly accused the media of "wild-eyed speculation" for suggesting that she was an intermediary between Kennedy and Giancana.
 In 1997, 20 years after the publication of My Story, Campbell changed her story. She unveiled new sensational allegations including a story that she was a conduit between the President of the United States and the Chicago Mob.
She claimed that for 18 months, in 1960 and 1961, that she was the president's link with the Chicago Outfit and that she zipped across the country carrying envelopes between the president and Giancana, (concerning the Mafia-White-CIA plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.) and arranged about 10 meetings between the two, one of which, she thought, took place inside the White House.
Campbell, a long troubled woman with deep emotional instability, (Depression and paranoia) changed her story several times in a decade. It appears that virtually all of what Campbell wrote was concocted in order to sell a book and by the time she completed her autobiography in 1977, Kennedy, Giancana, and Roselli were safely dead. In 1988 People magazine interview Campbell said   "I lied when I said I was not a conduit between President Kennedy and the Mafia. I lied when I said that President Kennedy was unaware of my friendships with mobsters. He knew everything about my dealings with Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli because I was seeing them for him. I wouldn't have been seeing them otherwise."
When pressed to explain why she had lied before the United States Senate she replied that she feared for her life if she told the truth "If I'd told the truth, I'd have been killed. I kept my secret out of fear." In fairness, it’s not a completely groundless defense. Giancana was killed just before he was set to testify before the Senate committee and Roselli was kidnapped and killed right after he testified. However, it makes almost no sense for Kennedy to have chosen Campbell as his conduit to Giancana especially considering the vast numbers of more capable persons he could have chosen for the job including several mob-controlled US Congressmen.
 What makes her claims so outrageous is that the wily Kennedy chose Campbell to act as her Mafia contact after having known her for less than two weeks. Conversely, she had known the paranoid Sam Giancana for less than a month before he supposedly agreed to accept White House messages from her. The strangest thing about Campbell’s take is that Murray Humphreys, the Chicago Mob political contact and corruption expert, appears nowhere on the landscape.   
Campbell said that her first assignment as courier was suggested by Kennedy at the dinner in his Georgetown townhouse on April 6, 1960. During the conversation Kennedy turned to her and said, "Could you quietly arrange a meeting with Sam [Giancana] for me?"  Campbell said that the she called Giancana the next morning and arranged a meeting “I arrived at 8:30 a.m. on April 8th and talked to Sam at a Chicago club," said Exner. "I told Sam that Jack wanted to meet with him because he needed his help in the campaign." Giancana agreed, and the meeting was set four days later at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. "I called Jack to tell him, and then I flew to Miami because Kennedy wanted me to be there."
On April 12 Kennedy met with Giancana at the Fontainebleau. "I was not present," Exner said, "but Jack came to my suite afterward, and I asked him how the meeting had gone. He seemed very happy about it and thanked me for making the arrangements." Kennedy, a notorious skinflint, then paid Campbell $2,000 in cash. Writer Kitty Kelley, who assisted Campbell in writing her stories about Kenney and Giancana, speculated that the April 12 meeting concerned the West Virginia primary.
 After Kennedy entered the White House, Campbell said, Kennedy continued to use her as a courier. A few days after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, Kennedy called her in California and asked her to fly to Las Vegas, pick up an envelope from Roselli and deliver it to Giancana in Chicago. Then she was to arrange a meeting between the President and the Mafia boss, one that took place in her suite at the Ambassador East on April 28, 1961.
Describing her role in arranging contacts between Kennedy and Giancana, she said "As a rule I would just call Sam. I learned to almost speak in a kind of code. I would usually say, `Have him call the girl from the West.' And if something was happening in Florida, it was, `Can you meet him in the South?' Sam always knew that `him' was Jack. I really became very adept. I think that I was having a little bit of fun with this also."
Campbell claimed that FBI Director Hoover had agents tailing her so he could blackmail Kennedy with the evidence. However, according to Joe Pignatello, a Las Vegas restaurateur, mob insider and close personnel friend of Sam Giancana, the agents were assigned to follow Campbell only because of her involvement with Giancana and Sinatra and that agents had confirmed to Giancana Robert Kennedy had asked the Director to place a lock step on Campbell as part of his scheme to blackball Sinatra.
 Pignatello claimed that Campbell had worked as a paid escort on the Los Angeles-Las Vegas circuit and was hired by Sinatra to entertain Kennedy during their first meeting in Palm Springs on February 7, 1960 while Kennedy was a presidential candidate.   It was Pignatelo’s contention that Giancana had paid hush money to Campbell to protect Sinatra’s career and not Kennedy’s. “Sam” said Pignatello “Wouldn’t have pissed in the sink to help Kennedy. Why would help Kennedy with anything?” 

 According to Pignatello, after the Kennedy’s had cut themselves lose from Sinatra they attempted to distance themselves from him. According to Pignatello, the hush money used to bribe Campbell was taped to the inside casing of an old and no longer used oven in his restaurant in Vegas.  Campbell died of breast cancer (some reports called it lung cancer) in 1999 at age 65. 

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